What Can Happen to My Georgia Medical License If I’m Convicted of a DUI?

In May, police arrested a Kennesaw man claiming to be a nurse, charging him with three felony counts as well as a misdemeanor DUI. Two of the felony counts stemmed from the man possessing prescription drugs. The other was for threatening the officers if they came to the hospital where he worked.

The man faces harsh punishment if convicted. One thing is for sure: he will not likely be returning to his job at the hospital anytime soon.

Georgia Medical License After a DUI

A driving under the influence (DUI) charge in Georgia can result in very serious penalties. From jail time, expensive fines, and license suspension; to losing your vehicle, and required treatment, a charge for DUI – even if you weren’t drinking – demands action on your part.

Beyond the stiff penalties from law enforcement, a DUI conviction can have a significant impact on your livelihood.

Those whose jobs involve protecting the health and safety of others are particularly exposed to additional penalties following a DUI conviction. Doctors, nurses, EMTs, and other medical professionals are a prime example.

What Can Happen to My Georgia Medical License If I’m Convicted of DUI?

The Georgia Board of Nursing and the Georgia Composite Medical Board require notification of arrests by an individual or their employer. After receiving notice, they make their own decisions about what actions to take next.

Although each state has its own separate medical board, here in Georgia additional actions can include:

  • Suspension or even permanent revocation of a medical license
  • Fines up to $3,000
  • Public or private reprimand
  • Probation from practicing
  • Requiring corrective training or additional medical education courses

Both Boards can also – and probably will – require you to take either a mental or physical examination, and the results will be used to determine the discipline.

The impact of the penalties stems in large part by the conviction itself. For example, a single DUI charge will probably not be serious enough to cause a permanent revocation of your license.

What If I Have Multiple DUI Convictions?

Things can go wrong in a hurry if you have multiple DUI convictions.

Under Georgia law, one or two DUI convictions are misdemeanors. A third conviction, however, jumps the charge to a high and aggravated misdemeanor. A fourth conviction within 10 years is a felony DUI.

Other circumstances that can result in felony DUI convictions include child endangerment and DUI with Serious Injury by Vehicle.

In the report above about the nurse from Kennesaw, the misdemeanor DUI alone may not have been enough to put his medical career in jeopardy. The additional charges, which are felonies, made his situation far more serious.

How Does a DUI Conviction Impact Medical Malpractice Insurance?

Contrary to popular opinion, Georgia doctors are not required by law to carry medical malpractice insurance. In a stunning report from the Atlanta Journal Constitution, over 2,200 doctors with active medical licenses in Georgia do not have malpractice insurance.

However, because lawsuits claiming medical malpractice can be costly, it only makes sense to carry it. Convictions of offenses like DUI can have an impact on an insurance company’s decision about whether or not to provide coverage or at least cause the premium to rise.

Can I Get into Medical School with a DUI Conviction?

Most medical schools conduct their own background checks or have one done for them by the Association of American Medical Colleges. The background checks are sure to pick up DUI convictions, which is why it’s important to be honest on your application.

The background checks are mainly geared towards crimes of fraud and deceit, and DUIs are not such crimes. Lying about a DUI on your record is far more likely to result in your application being denied than the charge itself.

Why Should I Fight to Have My DUI Charges Reduced?

It’s important to know that Georgia is one of the strictest states in the country in terms of DUI enforcement. In fact, in 2017, Georgia was ranked second nationally in terms of how it enforces DUI charges.

There’s a big difference between a DUI charge and a DUI conviction. In most instances, a reduction results in a plea of reckless driving. This is a significant change because reckless driving is a misdemeanor charge that only results in a 4-point traffic offense.

A DUI conviction, on the other hand, remains on your record for life.

If you’re charged with DUI, your first call should be to a DUI attorney. You’ll have a far better chance of at least having the charges reduced, which is a far better option for you.